I Felt Him In Your Fellowship

March 4, 2013
by Alec Niemi

James 2:14-17 – My brothers and sisters, what good does it do if someone claims to have faith but doesn't do any good things? Can this kind of faith save him? Suppose a believer, whether a man or a woman, needs clothes or food and one of you tells that person, "God be with you! Stay warm, and make sure you eat enough." If you don't provide for that person's physical needs, what good does it do? In the same way, faith by itself is dead if it doesn't cause you to do any good things. (GWT)

I received this note from a young fellow about his experience in our church. We have known him since he was a young kid and unofficially fostered him for awhile. He is now in his 40s.

    Hey Dad:

    He was lost, sitting in the lil' church, waiting for all the folks to arrive. He was always lost. Not really bad. Just never felt like he fit. Long hair, threadbare, second-hand store look about him.

    His foster dad was preaching and the folks that were coming through the door were smiling at and welcoming him. Some made pleasant small talk. All were warm.

    A drunk came through the big doors. The good folks smiling welcomed him in and some made small talk. All were warm.

    The drunk saw the young fella and his eyes lit up; a smile split his face. His handshake was like a huge hug from a long-lost brother. And the young man was home, in the presence of God's love.

    All through that church morning, from the old drunk interrupting the service to the fighting with his girlfriend at the lunch after, he was welcome and the pastor treated him like he treated all his brothers and sisters in Christ. And his congregation followed his lead. We all sat downstairs and prayed together and ate together.

    There are different parts to the body of Christ, and God's love was sent through a scruffy, belligerent, drunken old man on that Sunday morning.

    The young man got baptized in that church and looks for the old drunk whenever he comes to visit … looking for home.

    God's love is big (((( BIG!!!!! )))). I felt him in your fellowship; in your flock.

    Dad, God's love isn't in the building by the road. He lives in your heart and in the sad heart of an old drunk. Your message is important and a great one. I just want to encourage you. To let you know that your people do welcome the unlovely, and the unlovely welcome their own. Keep up the good work, Dad. Don't let us lose that unlikely avenue for God's love.

    Love ya! Love to Mom.

James 2:1-4 – My brothers and sisters, practice your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ by not favouring one person over another. For example, two men come to your worship service. One man is wearing gold rings and fine clothes; the other man, who is poor, is wearing shabby clothes. Suppose you give special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say to him, "Please have a seat." But you say to the poor man, "Stand over there," or "Sit on the floor at my feet." Aren't you discriminating against people and using a corrupt standard to make judgments? (GWT)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, in response to our faith in You, we seek to do good. Help us to recognize the opportunities before us and then to put our faith into action. In Jesus' name. Amen.

About the author:

Alec Niemi <aniemi@shaw.ca>
Harrison Mills, British Columbia, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Powerful.


    Thanks for the devotional Alec.


    Very appropriate and a good reminder Alec.


    Faith into action YES!! Blessings.


    Amen, and Thank you Lord for writers such as this.


    Beautiful!
    (NB)


    Thank you for today’s devotional, Alec.
    May this week ahead be a great one for you, full of inspiration for more devotionals.


    Good morning Alec: Thank you for your inspiring words!
    I am on the constant lookout for opportunities to share my faith.
    Blessings in Christ.


    Dear Alex,.
    Now that’s real Christianity! Let us have lots of it.
    Thank you.
    Keep writing.


    Dear Alec:
    Thank you for a great lesson in a small sermon.
    We need to remember that.
    Blessings.


    Your church must by like the first church – outreaching. That is the church I want to be a part of. Sadly sometimes it is the minister who is the worst witness. It is truth that 2 or 3 gathered He is there also.


    Dear Alec,
    I read your DD with deja vu. I recall an incident in a church in the UK several years ago. I was in a seat in the gallery when a tattered, homeless man prostrated himself at the front of the congregation, facing the choir. He was known to them but no one moved. I watched and waited but no one moved. I wanted to but felt uncomfortable at the same time.
    I was sure that someone closer would help but I was wrong. To this day, I feel the guilt on my inaction.
    Yesterday, in our church, the message was on the rejection of Jesus by those who should have known who He was. The follow up discussion takes place on Thursday.
    It’s easy to know what we should do, it’s doing it that’s the problem.
    Thank you for encouraging us to see others as Jesus sees them.
    (BC)


    Thanks for your timely message, “…I was a stranger and you welcomed me…..” This was the theme for the World day of Prayer held last Friday.
    We need to be reminded that we are one in the Body of Christ. Thanks be to God.


    Good Afternoon Alec:
    What a beautiful letter from one who loves you and respects you deeply. His words tell us of your ministry portraying God’s eternal love towards those who are often not welcomed by the shepherd of a particular flock and/or his congregation. However your example has shown your church family how to welcome all who enter their doors with a warm and inviting attitude and in doing so the stranger, who has come uninvited, soon feels part of your loving Christian family.
    It is a sad, sad situation to feel your are outside the crowd and wanting so badly to be accepted by those surrounding you. And the warmth and generosity you provided for those who came to your church door will be remembered forever as we note by the words expressed in the letter form your young admirer.
    I loved his words, “Dad, God’s love isn’t in the building by the road. He lives in your heart and in the sad heart of an old drunk. Your message is important and a great one. I just want to encourage you. To let you know that your people do welcome the unlovely, and the unlovely welcome their own. Keep up the good work, Dad. Don’t let us lose that unlikely avenue for God’s love.”
    A beautiful message from one who loves and respects you and your wife, who is also a great part of any pastor’s ministry. You were a living example of faith, hope and love to this young man.
    One day your Master will say, Well done thou good and faithful servant, I was hungry and you fed me, cold and you provided warmth for me, tired and you provided me with the assurance I would have a place to lay my head and most importantly you provided the wonderful words of the old, old story to all who came to your church family.
    You are truly a beautiful example of a servant of the Living God.
    Blessings Always.

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